‘Upset’ Albo rages over detainee bungle

The Prime Minister sought to distance himself and his two frontbenchers, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles, from the saga as he fronted up for questioning on Friday morning.

“I think that’s a wrong decision by that board but … they make the decisions independent (sic),” he told Channel 7.

“One of the things that we have in this country is a separation (between judicial system and political system) there. And look, the whole NZYQ case was something that we opposed, that decision of the High Court. The government has had to deal with the implications of that and the results of that. We’ve been trying to do that.”

Ninette Simons, 73, and her 76-year-old husband Philip were victims of a home invasion after three men allegedly conned their way into her Perth home by pretending to be police officers.

Anthony Albanese has been grilled over the detainee saga.
Anthony Albanese was grilled over the detainee saga.

Kuwaiti-born Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan was charged for his alleged involvement in the attack.

He was part of a cohort of about 150 detainees released after a landmark High Court ruling in the NZYQ case found that indefinite immigration detention was unlawful.

The government is now under pressure over why a government-appointed Community Protection Board decided that Mr Doukoshkan did not need to wear an ankle monitor and why Commonwealth prosecutors did not oppose his bail.

Mr Doukoshkan faced court in February over alleged curfew breaches. Despite the government originally claiming otherwise earlier this week, the Commonwealth did not oppose bail.

The magistrate in the case told Mr Doukoshkan that he was on “very thin ice” and lucky to be released because the Commonwealth did not oppose bail.

The charges were later dropped due to a blunder that resulted in the Commonwealth reissuing visas for the NZYQ-affected cohort.

Mr Doukoshkan was wearing an ankle bracelet at the hearing in February but was not at the time of the alleged home invasion on April 19 after the protection board advised it was not necessary.

Ninette Simons received severe facial bruising and swelling after she was allegedly assaulted during a shocking home invasion. Picture: WA Police/Supplied
Ninette Simons received severe facial bruising and swelling after she was allegedly assaulted during a shocking home invasion. Picture: WA Police/Supplied

Mr Doukoshkan was again bailed in the days before the alleged attack for a state-related offence.

The government has repeatedly stressed that it cannot intervene in state-related matters.

Mr Albanese stressed that community safety was his absolute priority and if it had been up to him, the 43-year-old would not have been granted bail.

“But these things are done independently by the Director of Public Prosecutions … in consultation of the AFP,” he said.

“That wasn’t a decision of government … I’m saying that I am just as upset about that decision as you are. I think that lacks common sense.”

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton again ramped up his criticism of the government’s handling of the saga.

He said people had a right to be upset and angry about what happened to Ms Simons.

“This could be anybody’s grandmother or mother, and the Prime Minister’s office going out there telling people, you know, lies is just not acceptable,” he said.

“And if the minister doesn’t have responsibility here, I don’t know who does.”

His sparring partner, Government Services Minister Bill Shorten, hit back, claiming the saga wouldn’t have occurred if Mr Dutton had written the laws “better” back when he was home affairs minister.

“So then the High Court couldn’t roll us … I wish you’d done a better job then,” he said.

But he acknowledged the decision by the community protection board not to recommend the use of ankle bracelets was an error.

“They made a decision to not put an ankle bracelet on this fellow because previously he hadn’t shown any crimes of violence, but I agree ... that that is a mistake,” she said.

The NZYQ ruling last November overturned two decades of legal precedent about immigration detention, causing rolling headaches for the government in its wake.